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Runners cross the Tyne Bridge in the Great North Run.

30,000 runners set to raise £250,000 for NHS Charities at Great Run events

As big races 'bite the dust' Great Run fights back as 30,000 enter virtual events

As the coronavirus dust starts to clear and the determined organisers of smaller events begin serious planning for dates later in 2020, there's continued fallout for the UK's 'big number' races. As events like Edinburgh & Manchester Marathon are cancelled until next year, one major organiser has been fighting back strongly on the virtual front.

The Great Run Company is approaching a £250,000 target after the success of their Great Run Solo and Great North Run Solo challenges. There have been 30,000 entries to date, with Great North Run Solo achieving over 20,000 of those in just three weeks. Organisers believe it is the biggest virtual running challenge launched by an individual event in the UK.

Both virtual events continue to raise vital funds for the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal, with all profits going to the charity, which meets the immediate needs of patients, staff and volunteers affected by the virus.

Launched on 28 June, the anniversary of the first ever Great North Run, Great North Run Solo challenges runners to complete 40 runs up until 13 September, the day the 40th event was scheduled to take place. It is part of a wider campaign called Great North Run Reimagined, which offers two virtual running challenges; Great North Run Solo to take them through what would have been the traditional training period and the Official Virtual Great North Run to give an 'on the day' virtual race experience - with more details to be announced in the coming weeks.

Paul Foster, chief executive of The Great Run Company said: “Even though the Great North Run won’t take place on the ground, we still have thousands of people who want to celebrate this iconic event and we’re thrilled that so many people have entered the Great North Run Solo virtual running challenge.

“We believe it is the biggest virtual running challenge that has been launched by a single event in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic – if not ever. Coupled with the entries from the Great Run Solo challenge, it is set to raise up to a quarter of a million pounds for the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal, giving back to our heroes in the NHS.

“From the solo training runs to the virtual event itself, the entire Great North Run Reimagined campaign will provide an experience as close as possible to the real thing and give everyone an opportunity to still commemorate the event in 2020.”

Great North Run Solo entries are open until 31 July. Those taking part can run any pace or distance they’re comfortable with and everyone who completes the challenge will receive a special edition medal. The challenge costs £10 to join, and all profits will go to the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal. Organisers are also encouraging everyone who joins Great North Run Solo to fundraise for a charity who otherwise would miss out this year.

To find out more and enter visit the Great Run website.

Runners cross the Tyne Bridge in the Great North Run. Image courtesy: The Great Run Company

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